My Work

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Festive Fall

As we move through the thirteen weeks of Fall, we can be mesmerized by the beauty of a changing natural world, or we can become overwhelmed by the ugly politics of the secular world. I vote for the natural world where we can visit at first hand with plants and animals preparing themselves for the harshness of winter. Trees and bushes and others in the world of vegetation withdraw, some deeply, and let the flush of spring and summer fall away in splendor.

Hibernating animals are the gourmands of the natural world, eating and eating, preparing for that long sleep. They mate, too, as do so many in the animal world. Even with humans, there seems to be more mating in coldest months. Ever notice how many of your friends were born in August and September.

The smart ones, along with making other preparations for winter, head south. Ducks, geese, sno-birds, and hummingbirds get away for the winter. Hundreds of thousands of animals are found huddled in their RVs in the great American Deserts every winter, and the dove season is anticipated along the border states.

Fall is hunting season and many the larder is filled with venison, water fowl, and upland game. Fishing in the fall months can be very good as well, with migratory fishes coming back to the streams where they began their lives. You might be challenged by some big old bears, but, stand your ground. On second thought, let the bear go first.

I remember a deer hunt with a friend many years ago, when I almost lost the gentleman as a friend. We were scheduled to be in the mountains of eastern Nevada for five days, and the fool shot his deer the first day. Oh, the names I used to describe his foolishness, and used them every mile on the way home.

On any kind of hunt, it isn’t always the filling of the game bag that’s most important. Long days getting shorter, magnificent country to spend hours traversing, delightfully warm campfires to broil steaks on and sip good bourbon near, and the aroma of the great outdoors are part and parcel.

Along with the visual delights of the season, the hunts and camping trips, and fine fishing opportunities, there are a couple of holidays thrown in as well. Halloween is more a fun time than a real holiday, but with a little creativity can be gastronomically extravagant. When the neighbor slips a note under your door labeled Party!! it’s time to grab your favorite mask, bake or cook something wicked, or whitchly, and answer that RSVP.

I’m the farthest thing from a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving. The dinner, yes. The family, yes. Tradition ends right there. Over the years, Patty and I have fixed goose, duck, chicken, rabbit, goat, even standing rib roast of beef for the family table, almost always with acorn squash soup, and ending with sweet potato pie. If it’s to be stuffed, we prefer an oyster stuffing, and forget the marshmallow jello.

There aren’t a tremendous number of fall traditions. Most are centered around family activities. Football, particularly high school and college rivalries bring families to stadiums, often before a family gathering and feast. Hiking in the splendor of autumn is in many to-do lists during the period, and traditional meals with specialty baking and roasting are some.

Most families have a favorite meal or item for a meal, most can remember playing for or rooting for a high school or college alma mater, and relish the opportunity to help their team to another victorious season.

Patty is baking a couple of carrot cakes from carrots I harvested the other day, so I have to draw this little tome to a close. The aroma is getting dense and I’m salivating on the keyboard. Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
Member, Western Fictioneers
Member, International Thriller Writers
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